Monday, March 21, 2011

I Just Saw the Stupidest Thing Ever on ABC News

A reporter in Japan just held a Geiger Counter up to some vegetables in a plastic bag grown near Fukushima, and it clicked a couple times. He proclaimed it proof the vegetables were contaminated by fallout from the reactor.  The produce may well be contaminated, but that demonstration didn't show it.  Geiger counters detect all kinds of radiation, and a background of a few clicks doesn't mean much of anything.  When it starts buzzing or screaming, it's time to get excited.

Geiger Counters aren't terribly sensitive for gamma radiation, and the plastic bag would block any beta emissions, so it couldn't be seeing that. If he put the greens in a gamma counter and I saw peaks grow in at the energies characteristic of I-131or Cs-137, I'd buy it. It was just a dumb visual stunt performed by a dumb or deceitful reporter.

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